Now that's more like it. The Terps finally shook off the cobwebs and put their early season offensive struggles behind them on Thursday night at Ludwig Field as they defeated the visiting Tribe 4-0 in their home opener.
When asked if he was worried at all about his team's offense after going scoreless in the first two games of the season, Maryland Head Coach Jonathan Morgan simply said, "Yes." He said that the Terps would just have to find a way to score goals. What a relief tonight must have been.
The Terps finally got their first goal of the season in the 3rd minute of the game. Maryland goalie Rachelle Beanlands unleashed a monster kick and Alex Doody beat the defender one-on-one to the ball and lofted the ball over Tribe keeper Caroline Casey. Doody remarked after the game, "Putting one away really takes the edge off...I'm glad I was able to put that away." The Terps caught a break a few minutes later when forward Sami Grasso took a poor shot on a relatively open goal. Beanlands recovered to get a hand on the shot and force a corner.
Sarah Molina almost made it 2-0 for Maryland in the 13th minute, just missing a header off of a Shannon Collins corner kick. The Terps struck a minute later though as Alex Doody notched her 2nd goal of the game. Doody received a pass from Collins down the left side and slid a shot past Casey's outstretched arms. With 7:30 left to go in the first half, Erika Nelson took a short pass from Alex Anthony and delivered a perfect high-arcing shot that Casey had no chance on to make it 3-0.
Maryland came out of the half swinging as Alex Anthony took a pass from Aubrey Baker and launched an absolute rocket to the far post, pushing the lead to 4. William and Mary almost ended the Maryland shutout just a minute later when Samantha Cordum whiffed on an left-footed shot with an open goal and the Maryland defense cleared it. Maryland escaped trouble again when Erika Nelson was issued a yellow card for taking a Tribe player down just outside of the box and the ensuing header off of the free kick was off-target.
The story of the game was the offense. After being shutout in the first two games of the season, Maryland overwhelmed William and Mary. Alex Doody started in place of Cory Ryan, who was injured against Pepperdine. Before tonight's game she only had 5 career goals. Morgan was aggressive tactically in moving the versatile Shade Pratt to the midfield, giving Maryland five midfielders. The strategy worked. Maryland was relentless on offense, creating opportunity after opportunity. The passing was crisp and the result was high-percentage shots. Maryland scored 3 times on 7 shots in the 1st half before cooling off in the 2nd half.
Following the game, Morgan said, "I thought tonight was a good performance for our group. It was a result badly needed." The Terps still aren't fully healthy with Ryan, Lauren Berman, Gabby Galanti, and Alex Anthony all recovering from injuries. It's a long season but Maryland is back in the win column and they have a chance to get back to .500 with against N.C. State at home on Sunday.